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U.S. snatches last spot in semifinals

The Associated Press

U.S. outfielder Adam Jones makes a catch above the wall for an out against the Dominican Republic in the seventh inning of their second-round WBC game on Saturday.

The Associated PressSAN DIEGO (AP) — The United States is going to the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic for the second time thanks to another impressive home run by Giancarlo Stanton at Petco Park and a spectacular catch at the fence by hometown favorite Adam Jones.

Stanton hit a go-ahead, two-run shot into the third-level balcony of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in the left-field corner in the fourth inning and Jones robbed Baltimore Orioles teammate Manny Machado of a home run in the seventh to help the Americans beat the Dominican Republic 6-3 on Saturday night, eliminating the defending champions.

Team USA will face Japan on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium for a spot in the championship game.

A number of big-name players declined to play for the United States. Manager Jim Leyland appreciates those who did sign up.

“There were a lot of people that respectfully declined and we’re not going to throw anybody under the bus,” Leyland said.

“We’re going to honor the people that accepted and are here. So we’re moving forward and that’s all we’re talking about ... And right now that’s the only team I care about. And these players that are here are the only players I care about right now.”

Those who were with Team USA certainly put on a show.

Stanton’s homer gave the United States a 4-2 lead and put a charge into the sellout crowd of 43,002.

The slugger’s shot was reminiscent of his Home Run Derby victory at Petco Park on July 11, when he peppered the far reaches of the big downtown ballpark, including hitting one onto the top of the 108-year-old brick warehouse.

“Yeah, it did kind of feel like the Home Run Derby,” Stanton said.

Three innings later, Jones leaped and reached over the fence in the deepest part of the park in right-center to rob Machado of a home run. Machado tipped his helmet to Jones.

“I’m still in kind of shock that I even got to that ball,” said Jones, who played at Morse High about 8 miles east of Petco. “I mean, off the bat I’m just like, ‘This ball’s hit really far, so just keep going, keep going. You know this California air’s going to slow it down and just never quit.’ That’s just the style I play with. I don’t mind running into a wall or two. I just kept going after the ball.

“I saw the replay after the game. It was a hell of catch,” he added.

Robinson Cano then homered to left to pull the Dominican Republic to 4-3.

Andrew McCutchen gave Team USA some breathing room with a two-run double in the eighth, and Luke Gregerson pitched a perfect ninth to close it out.

Puerto Rico pounds Venezuela

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Mike Aviles got four hits and drove in three runs as Puerto Rico, already assured a spot in the World Baseball Classic semifinals, beat Venezuela 13-2 for its sixth straight win in the tournament.

Puerto Rico, runner-up to the Dominican Republic in the 2013 WBC, will play the Netherlands on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Kennys Vargas hit a two-run homer and Angel Pagan added a double and two singles as Puerto Rico got 17 hits. A day earlier, Carlos Correa, Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina helped Puerto Rico hold off the United States 6-5.

Starter Jose De Leon pitched 2⅔ scoreless innings for the win. Martin Perez took the loss.

Venezuela lost to Puerto Rico for the second time in this year’s WBC. Speech

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